Uterine prolapse is dropping of the uterus into the vaginal canal. The uterus is held by muscles, ligaments and tissues in the pelvis. When these muscles and ligaments stretch and weaken, they no longer can provide support to the uterus and causes uterine prolapse. If the uterus slips and drops partway onto the vagina, it is called an incomplete prolapse and if it drops totally out of place it is called complete prolapse.
Causes – The condition of uterine prolapse may be caused by the following reasons:
1. Pregnancy: This is said to be the main cause of uterine prolapse in women. This condition can occur later or immediately after pregnancy. The stress, labor and baby’s weight all contribute to weakening of the pelvic muscles.
2. Menopause: Lack of estrogen hormone after menopause can lead to this prolapse in women.
3. Chronic Constipation: Chronic constipation and the straining related to it can worsen this condition.
4. Weak Pelvic Muscles: Weak pelvic muscles may not be able to hold the uterus, thus letting it drop in the vagina.
5. Childbirth: Uterine Prolapse is usually found in women who have given natural births.
6. Persistent Cough: Persistent coughing weakens the pelvic structure and increases the risk.
7. Obesity: Obese women have a higher risk of prolapse.
8. Tumors/Fibroids: Women with large fibroids or tumors are at a risk of prolapse.
9. Genetic: Genetic collagen deficiency increases the risk of prolapse.
Symptoms – Every woman may experience different kinds of symptoms in this condition. Some may have more intense signs and symptoms and some may not have any symptoms depending on the severity of the prolapse. Moderate to severe prolapse can have symptoms like bowel movement problems, urinary problems, heaviness in the pelvic region, low back pain, feeling of something protruding from the vagina and loosening of vaginal tissues. You may experience some of these symptoms with less severity in the morning and which worsen during the day.
Treatment – There are some surgical options and some non surgical options for the treatment of uterine prolapse. They are as follows:
1. Surgical Methods: Uterine Suspension involves putting the uterus back to its original position. Special materials may be used to give support to the uterus. Another option is Hysterectomy which is the procedure of removing the uterus. This is a major operation which leads to the fact that once the uterus is removed, the woman can no longer become pregnant.
2. Non Surgical Methods: Vaginal pessary is a method where a rubber device is fitted in the lower part of the uterus to aid the uterus stay in its place. This rubber device is fitted by a health care professional. Estrogen Replacement Therapy involves taking of estrogen to limit the muscle weakness and the tissue weakness so as to support the uterus properly. This therapy may have side effects like gall bladder disease, breast cancer and blood clots. This therapy can be taken only after detailed discussion with your doctor. The other option for the treatment of uterine prolapse is exercises. Exercises like kegel exercises help to strengthen the pelvic muscles which are effective in the case of mild prolapse.
This condition may be prevented by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Avoid smoking, do not lift up very heavy objects and if done, it should be in the right manner.